What were Peter the Great's westernization policies and how did they help modernize Russia?

Essay by rsndudeHigh School, 12th gradeA+, May 2006

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Tsar Peter I, also known as Peter the Great, ruling Russia from 1689 to 1725, implemented major military and domestic reforms that centralized Russia and increased its role in Europe. He centralized his power and revolutionized the role of the servant nobility, creating a vast bureaucracy that would stabilize Russia. He would apply Western principles to his armies and the Russian Cossacks would expand throughout Eurasia. Peter also introduced radical reforms that discouraged the ancient traditions of the Boyars and in establishing St. Petersburg would create a model European city. His great changes would revolutionize Russia and establish the nation as a formidable power in Europe.

It was during Peter the Great's reign that a large standing army of over 200,000 troops was instituted. This standing army was created in 1699, allowing the Tsar to consolidate his power and keep internal peace, while at the same time protecting Russia from foreign invaders.

To create such a large standing army, the Tsar had to conscript peasants and commoners to serve the military, while Boyars, or Russian noblemen had the choice of either serving in the army or in the civil administration, for life. After creating a large standing army, the Tsar needed to create a navy that could hold its own at sea. Although much of the navy was made up of foreign officers, Peter felt that by modernizing and westernizing the armed forces, it would become stronger. To create an educated military and officer class, Peter had many schools and universities built. Compulsory education became a requirement of nobles, which helped them become educated in martial combat. Prior to the creation of these several military schools, the Tsar searched Europe for talented generals and officers, which would make up a large portion of his army, and...